Local News

Avery County Teens Plead Guilty To Assault In Hazing Case

Posted December 11, 2003 5:50 a.m. EST

— Three Avery County High School teenagers admitted in court Thursday that they assaulted 10 boys at a Raleigh basketball camp last summer. The victims were as young as 13 years old.

The attackers told the court the assault was part of an initiation to their team. It is a tradition victims' families say must end.

It is not often a judge feels compelled to comment from the bench. But Wake County District Court Judge Paul Gessner did.

"What happened here went way over and above and beyond, and should never have happened," Gessner said.

Beyond decency is how most people would describe what 17-year-old Tyler Boone did.

Boone pleaded guilty to 10 counts of hazing at North Carolina State University coach Herb Sendek's basketball camp in Raleigh in June.

According to the prosecutor, Boone and four other boys held the victims down and sodomized them with an object.

Boone's attorney said the behavior is a tradition.

"It's something he went through and everyone went through," defense attorney Alan Briones said. "It's a learned behavior. It doesn't make it any better, but it's certainly something I hoped the court would consider."

The parents of one victim spoke out in court.

"It breaks your heart, and then it makes you mad," his father said. "He came home a changed boy. He was very sullen and very quiet."

The parents said their son bled for eight weeks after the incident and that he will never get over the emotional scars.

Boone was sentenced to 42-months probation and community service. He will be expelled from school permanently.

Sendek's office said he had no comment on the charges except to say that the boys were not under his supervision when the hazing occurred.

Two other boys connected with the case -- both juveniles -- pleaded guilty in court Thursday to simple assault charges. The district attorney expects to charge two more boys, probably next week.

The victims' families hope this will send a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated.